As we wrap up our "History of Tornadoes in New York" series, there is one more thing we want to look at - The worst tornado to hit our state.

Do you know where the deadliest tornado hit in New York? Do you know when it happened? Well, according to experts it's debatable. There are two storms that are considered the deadliest - One a confirmed tornado, the other is a considered a tornado to some, but others believe it was a microburst. We're going to look at both those storms.

The first one - The confirmed tornado, is one that we touched on before when we talked about the History of Tornadoes in Madison County. We're talking about that deadly tornado that hit Smithfield.

The tornado touched down around 7:15pm on Tuesday July 8, 2014, and took the lives of four people including a 4-month-old baby. According to NBC News,

Officials said homes were ripped from their foundations, debris was scattered across several surrounding counties and about 40,000 were still without power [the following] afternoon.

The tornado had a rating of an EF2 with wind speeds between 111 and 135 mph. You can see a clip of the news coverage, and see some of the damage caused by this tornado in the video below:


The other incident that causes a debate is a storm that moved through Orange County, New York on November 16, 1989, and took the lives of nine children at an elementary school when a wall collapsed on them. That would make it the most deadly tornado in New York, but experts still argue on whether it was a tornado or not.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration categorizes this storm as an F1 tornado (and it's still considered a tornado in their archives of "Storm Data"). But the developer of the Fujita scale (for measuring tornado intensity) disagrees. According to the Weather Channel,

Dr. Theodore Fujita surveyed the damage from that event and concluded that a microburst, rather than a tornado, caused the damage. His findings were later rejected by the governor of New York at the time...

No matter which way you look at it - Whether it was a tornado or not, both of these storms deserve to be noted. Both were tragic events for New York and should be a reminder that even though our state doesn't see a lot of tornadoes, they do still happen, and they can be deadly.




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